by: Tom Regan Updated:
DUNWOODY, Ga. - Family members of loved ones buried in a historic Dunwoody cemetery said they are disturbed and angry to see grave sites torn up by equipment used to remove storm debris.
"It's sad. When you're doing something like this, it's important to watch out for the people that are here. They can't get up and go anywhere," said Sid Manning.
Manning, who lives in Gainesville, has several family members buried in the New Hope Cemetery off Chamblee Dunwoody Road, which dates back to the 1800s. A severe storm last month toppled large trees. A Bobcat tractor that workers are using to haul away debris has left deep tire ruts on a number of grave sites and may have broken several grave markers.
"It was completely too heavy for what they were doing. If they had just kept the equipment appropriate for the size of the job they wouldn't have crushed the grave sites," said Manning.
He said his family's grave site was not damaged, but his cousin believes the tractor toppled his grandmother's headstone and tore up the ground.
"It's just shocking to us. My concern is to get it put back right," said Andrew Manning.
Channel 2's Tom Regan contacted the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, which manages and maintains the cemetery. An attorney for the trust emailed a response which said in part:
“It has not been, nor is it the intent to desecrate or damage the site in any way. DPT is striving to quickly and safely repair the property, including the removal of seven large trees."
The Manning family said they appreciate the cleanup effort but would like workers to be more cautious around the grave sites to help the departed rest in peace.
"Respect is the reason this cemetery is here to start with," Manning said.